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Overdose rumors disputed

Overdose rumors disputed

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By ANTHONY McCARTNEY

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- A month after Brittany Murphy's mysterious death, her mother and husband say they are convinced the actress died of natural causes, not drugs or an eating disorder.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sharon Murphy and Simon Monjack said that Murphy did not use drugs or alcohol and that they are awaiting a determination from coroner's officials that will end speculation prescription medicine caused Murphy's death on Dec. 20 at age 32.

Monjack said some of the prescription medications found in the couple's Hollywood Hills home belonged to him.

Murphy had mitral valve prolapse, a common condition where a heart valve does not properly close, but doctors said the actress "would live a long and healthy life," Monjack said.

"She had a fear of dying," Sharon Murphy said. "She would not take too much caffeine. She wouldn't even have a glass of champagne on New Year's. She was just high on life, and people see that as something else I guess."

Monjack, who married the star of films such as Clueless and 8 Mile in 2007, said police and coroner's officials have not contacted the family to say his wife's death was from anything other than natural causes.

Authorities continue to investigate her death but do not suspect foul play. An autopsy was inconclusive and coroner's officials are awaiting the results of toxicology and tissue tests before determining what killed the actress.

Sharon Murphy said she has largely ignored tabloid reports that have suggested her daughter abused drugs or had an eating disorder. She said her daughter had always been petite and ate often, but burned it off with an active lifestyle.

Monjack, who has read some of the reports, called them lies based on anonymous sources who weren't close to Brittany Murphy or him. He said he is considering suing some British outlets for "outright fabrications."

Monjack and Sharon Murphy remain in the Hollywood Hills home where Brittany Murphy collapsed a month ago. They share grief and memories of Murphy, speaking highly of each other. Monjack calls Murphy his soul mate; Sharon Murphy calls her daughter "my other half."

The pair are planning a public memorial to celebrate Brittany Murphy's life, which will be held in the Los Angeles area at the end of February.

Monjack said the memorial will coincide with the launch of the Brittany Murphy Foundation, a charitable group that he said will support arts education for children and other causes his wife believed in.

Both Monjack and Sharon Murphy said they expect respect to grow for Brittany Murphy's work and life, once questions about her death are settled. The actress had completed two unreleased films before her death but their prospects are uncertain.

Sharon Murphy expressed reluctance about their release because of the filmmakers' inexperience, but Monjack said he would approve if the releases were respectfully done and the profits donated to the Brittany Murphy Foundation.

"I think the dust will settle, the truth will come out," Monjack said. "I think people will come to realize the genius of Brittany Murphy and come to regret the way they treated her while she was alive."

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